When looking for a new toy for your baby or toddler, you want to find something that is going to keep them entertained for hours, be great value for money, and ideally teach them a thing or two.
That’s where STEM toys come in.
What are STEM toys?
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
STEM toys have been around for a while, but we are seeing an increase in their popularity as the world develops and there is even more of a focus on these subjects. STEM toys encourage children to discover more about these subjects through fun and practical learning.
Children learn through play, and there’s nothing more fulfilling for them than exploring and figuring out the world through toys. Whether they be science, technology, engineering or maths based, your child can have fun and develop so many skills that will help them in later life.
STEM toys are a fun way to encourage a child’s curiosity and creativity, as well as being crucial for their cognitive, physical, social and emotional development. They also help with critical thinking and problem-solving.
Why are STEM toys important?
The world as we know it is dominated by technology and science, so teaching our children about these areas from an early age through fun and engaging play will set them up for success in later life, should they choose to go into one of these industries in the future.
If your child becomes familiar with STEM from an early age, it will become the norm. Introducing STEM subjects to them in early childhood may also rule out the gender bias that is often associated with these subjects.
What to look for in a STEM toy
When choosing STEM toys for your child, the most important thing is to make sure that your child will enjoy playing with it. It can be easy to focus on the educational aspect of a toy, and forget that fundamentally, toys are meant to be fun.
Interactive toys are great, as your child will be able to learn whilst having fun. Ensuring the toy is age appropriate is also a key factor. If you choose something too advanced, your child won’t get the full benefits.
We’ve taken a look at some of the best STEM toys available right now for babies and toddlers.
The best STEM toys
Help your toddler learn to recognise numbers, count, and eventually learn basic maths with this bright and colourful Balance Math Game. It comes with 19 small frogs, 30 double-sided cards, 10 number models, one balance, one base, two weighing plates and an instruction manual. Your toddler will just love this interactive toy that promotes independent learning.
This cute mushroom toy is perfect for little ones to learn numbers and colours whilst playing fun games and listening to music. There are eight colourful mushrooms that light up and play fun melodies and a light show when touched. Learn numbers by counting the white dots on the mushrooms and experiment with sounds by pressing the mushrooms like piano keys. There are also fun games to play, such as memory games and finding numbers and colours.
Introduce your young scientist to the concept of physics using the power of water play. This cute bath toy attaches to the side of the bath and is transparent, so your little one can see the water in action. They will watch in amazement as they pour water into the funnel and as it makes its way through the system, turning propellers, sprinkling from the sides, turning the gauge, and making the googly eyes spin in excitement. This toy is sure to provide lots of bathtime fun.
Teach your little one about mechanics with this lovely, colourful wooden shape sorter. They will learn shape and pattern recognition and how gears work whilst exploring through play.
Toddlers and children just love building things, and this rainbow building block set will no doubt provide hours of fun. Watch as they build robots, towers and cars with the geometric shapes, promoting their cognitive development. Block play boosts brain development and encourages creativity and imagination.
For the future green fingered gardeners, why not teach your little one about different flower parts, colours and gardening with this interactive gardening set. Your toddler can build different flowers, water them, and learn to recognise different colours with this beautiful toy.
Your inquisitive tot will just love getting a closer look at their favourite things with their very own microscope. This fully functional microscope has two large eye pieces so that your child doesn’t have to close one eye, and it has a focus adjuster so that they can focus on smaller objects. It even has an LED light so that they are sure not to miss any details.
Trains, rockets and helicopters – a toddlers dream trio! Give your child an early introduction to the basics of engineering with this fab toy. It has chunky pieces, perfect for little hands to build either a space rocket, a helicopter or a train. It even comes with a little screwdriver to tighten up the bolts at the same time as building your little one’s fine motor skills.
Help your toddler to build their own robot with this lovely Sparklebot. It comes with 15 coloured bolts and a screwdriver, and once completed they can un-screw them all and play again. It also comes with sparkly stickers to jazz up their robot after. Also available in green/blue.
This cute little hedgehog is the perfect little pal to introduce your toddler to colour recognition, counting and matching skills. It comes with 12 coloured ‘spikes’ for your little one to push into his back, building their fine motor skills whilst having fun.
One for the babies, this Baby’s First Blocks & Rock-a-Stack is the perfect way to introduce your baby to the world of STEM. Learning to grasp, stack and sort shapes is a great way to develop their problem-solving and fine motor skills from an early age.
This lovely magnetic rod and ball toy is a great way to introduce your little one to the basic principles of engineering and geometry. It’s brightly coloured and chunky, just perfect for little hands. It comes as a 20 piece set and helps children experience the joy of building using magnets.
Introduce your little one to the world of beginner’s coding with this snazzy little caterpillar. It comes with eight segments that can be easily rearranged to make it go forwards, left, right, and play music and sounds. You little love will have tons of fun whilst experimenting and developing important skills like critical thinking, planning and sequencing, and problem solving.